I found the box by the sound of the weights hitting the floor. There's a thud-clang when the bar is dropped from a deadlift, and the plates shift, bouncing against the metal bar. Even though the rubber matts are thick and cover every inch of the bare concrete, the thud vibrates a little bit, enough to feel it. I walked down the hall, away from the Art of Drumming, on the other side of the basement in this old Art Deco building on the Hudson, long past its prime - now home to nonprofits, drumming schools, and CrossFit. It seems fitting the banging of drums and thudding of weights share space, the sounds bouncing and echoing off each other down the long hallway of polished concrete and soaring 20 foot ceilings.
Then I heard the coach shouting encouragement and clapping as the lock ticked down to the 20 minute mark before the buzzer rang. Whatever WOD I'd walked into had just finished and the smell of rubber and chalk and sweat greeted me at the door that also opened onto the loading document, the northern line of the MTA barreling past, and I knew I was home. Even after fifteen years of off and on CrossFit, the visceral sensation of walking into a new box is still exciting. I've done CrossFit in both hemispheres and on three continents, and I've yet to walk into one without feeling like I've come home. The pounding music that I never listen to anywhere else, the grunting as you pull the bar into a flat-back deadlift - these are the familiar sounds that ground me.
Over fifteen years, I've gotten older and slower as we are all destined to, but as long as I can still do 30 sit ups on an abmat, 15 deadlifts, and 400 meter sprints in 90 degree heat, I'm not nearly as old as I think I am.